Potter’s Island – Pastel Painting

I met a wonderful couple recently who had been following my artblog for a while. They came to an event where I was exhibiting my art work and wondered if I could create a pastel painting of the island and lake in their back yard. I visited with them and discussed exactly what they were looking for, and also saw the large fireplace above which the painting would hang. After multiple photography sessions, we settled on a reference shot from a bright sunny day.

I underpainted my mounted, sanded paper with a warm pastel gradation which I rubbed deep into the substrate. I started with a dark blue Nupastel to block in the darkest areas of the composition. I loaded an old bristle brush with odorless mineral spirits and brushed over all of the dark pastel to make it a permanent layer that would not be muddied by subsequent applications of pastel.
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Then, using an assortment of hard Nupastels and medium Rembrandts, I lightly layered in some of the local color, making sure not to press too hard and fill the tooth of the paper.
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I continued to softly lay on color, knowing as the painting progressed that most of these colors would shift a bit, in hue and in value. This UArt paper can take about 20 layers of pastel before it becomes difficult to layer on anymore. At this point I invited my clients over to view the progress. I must give them huge kudos for not becoming overly concerned. ;o)   The bright yellow, orange, and pink must have been a bit disconcerting, but they seemed to see that I was going in the right direction. Unfortunately, after this stage, I completely forgot to take more in-progress photographs.
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Below is the final piece which I delivered to the happy couple a couple of weeks ago. It was a wonderful experience from the get-go!

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Pastel landscape painting    24  inches x 36 inches    SOLD 
Please contact me if you are interested in similar artwork or commissioning a special painting.

And they were so kind to allow me to shoot a photo of the painting in their beautiful home after they had it framed at my favorite shop, Saline Picture Frame.
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This artwork was created with:
Paper:
UArt Mounted Paper

Medium: Rembrandt Pastels and Sennelier Pastels

Oil Painting in Narni, Italy

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Oil plein air cityscape painting    10 x 8 inch
    $300
Please contact me if you are interested in this or similar artwork.

Narni is another of my favorite little towns in Umbria. And yes, it is the inspiration for The Chronicles of Narnia, a series of seven high fantasy novels by author C. S. Lewis. We visited there for a morning and I managed to get two paintings done in 3 hours. Whew! I didn’t get much farther than the main square because the bright light under the main arch caught my eye. Sometimes people ask me how I chose my subjects: do I prefer landscapes, cityscapes, water views? I’ve realized that its not necessarily the subject matter that attracts me to a scene. It’s ALWAYS the light. And especially when there is a dark area near it. It feels a bit like cheating because the contrast creates a perfect center of interest, and usually draws your eye right into the painting. The locals liked my attempt. I even got a marriage proposal!

After I finished this one, I took a few steps back and painted the beautiful old fountain in the square. I emphasized the detail on the fountain in the foreground and left the background more out of focus. During this painting I got a less favorable response. A grumpy man who was mad that I didn’t move my painting supplies fast enough ran right over my plastic paint box, crushing it. I was a bit miffed to say the least. A kind local women immediately ran over to let me know that he was not from their city and that no one from Narnia would ever do that. I believed her unconditionally!!

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Oil plein air cityscape painting    10 x 8 inch    $300
Please contact me if you are interested in this or similar artwork.

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This artwork was created on: Linen Panel
Medium: Royal Talens Cobra Water Mixable Oil Paints and Holbein Duo Aqua Water Soluble Oil Paints

Painting in Villa Lante, Umbria

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Oil plein air painting    12 x 9 inch    $350
Please contact me if you are interested in this or similar artwork.

Villa Lante is a gorgeous, old Mannerist garden in Umbria, Italy. There are 4 tiers, each more beautiful than the last. I set up my easel at one level with a long balcony topped with old urns. I focused on the carved vase and let the landscape in the background fade into the distance.

I may be getting my days mixed up, but I think later in the afternoon we visited one of the largest lakes in Umbria, Trasimeno Lake. I painted Castiglione del Lago, an old Etruscan town built on a protruding limestone cliff. It was hot and steamy that day and the atmosphere muted the usually bright blue lake and mountains. Last year I painted the same town but from the other side of the small peninsula.

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Oil plein air waterscape painting    9 x 12 inch    $350
Please contact me if you are interested in this or similar artwork.

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Oil plein air waterscape painting    9 x 12 inch
    $350
Please contact me if you are interested in this or similar artwork.

 

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This artwork was created on: Linen Panel
Medium: Royal Talens Cobra Water Mixable Oil Paints and Holbein Duo Aqua Water Soluble Oil Paints

Studio Portrait Sketches from La Romita

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Last year when we were at La Romita, the July/August weather was the coolest it had been since the Renaissance: 60-75 degrees. This year…not so much. The heat wave that had been rolling over Europe for the last couple of months enveloped us as well. The afternoons were often just too hot to paint outdoors. Luckily, we had an air conditioned studio that was originally a 15c chapel and is still filled with old frescoes.

While some students painted from the photos they had taken, I often sketched very quick little portraits of them. The top oil paintings are of our fearless leader, Nora Venturelli. The bottom pencil drawings are of some of the students.

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Painting in Todi, Italy

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Oil plein air cityscape painting    12 x 9 inch    $350
Please contact me if you are interested in this or similar artwork.

Beautiful little Todi in Umbria. I think all of us loved this small hill town. There are gorgeous views to paint from the ancient walls looking out into the countryside and in the famous piazza in the city center. I chose a view in the piazza this time. I just realized that last year I had painted the same square from a different view in watercolor (below).

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Watercolor plein air cityscape painting    9 x 7 inch    $225
Please contact me if you are interested in this or similar artwork.

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This artwork was created on: Linen Panel
Medium: Royal Talens Cobra Water Mixable Oil Paints and Holbein Duo Aqua Water Soluble Oil Paints

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